Time to Stay, Time to Leave
Kattegat
Weißenfels
Klee
Dove in Venice

By Mirko Bonné

Translation Paul-Henri Campbell

Time to Stay, Time to Leave

The desk does not fit in the suitcase,
so it’s emptied, for nothing wants to stay.
Does everything always need to be traveling? Outside, for
weeks on end the puppy’s been yelping
within its fenced in habitat, and through
the ceiling, as every evening, Rachmaninoff
resounds, the melody on the piano.
Light flashes over from the photo studio
on Broadway, and during dark breaks, outlines
can be seen on the roof while they make
their final, utterly final rounds, although
it’s chilly and windy and time to leave.
The leaves of the ginkgo trees brush up
against the window, where I always used to stand.

For Sabine Baumann

 

Kattegat

Within the maple masts,
whispering. The breeze settles down
upon the seagulls’ backs,
when late in the evening the last ferry
makes fast and waits.

At the harbor, the trees
are compelled to deliberate auPtumn.
The generator shack
is overgrown by wild lemon balm.
Beacon lights are on the early shift.

Still, boats are searching about,
human cutters, for only in the night
will truth be caught in their net.
Whatever the sea may mean, the fish
can live with it.

 

Weißenfels

In the dark, nocturnal park
geese with elbow sails
are practicing flapping their wings.

Hardenberg heaves and spews,
nervously, as he is
elated by gleeful anticipation.

Eat He Gravel
bellows the blue Tieck
I’ll stuff him with pebbles!

At the edge of the forest, the constellation
of the Charpentiers twinkles,
the starlight calash.

Novalis starts running.
Halt, all! Rock chips
are trickling out of my head.

 

Klee

Let it go,
that spider’s web.
It illuminates the sleepy path
for summer.

Joshua is trudging
around Jericho
with seven eyelashless
disciples of the Lord.

Decipherable
the sunflowers cooling down,
ancestral signs,
etched into border stones.

On this side I am beyond understanding.
And above the light
luridly rushing forth
that which is immovable and stiff.

Behold the flashes of lightning,
the fish.
They are sounding out the dominion
of vivid lines.

 

Dove in Venice

I believe you’re
a mask that flutters,
flutters, and flies: so calmly
frantic, buzzing forth, barely
above the people, the cameras
pushing through murmuring mirrors.
I believe, as a dove
in Venice I’d glide upon
the shoulder blades of women,
and I’d forever love
cookie handbags.

Wrong, if you believe
the only thing they want are cringles.
I believe people fail to recognize doves
in this light, in which even Brodsky
had failed to recognize the eye’s power:
it beholds the mask, it flutters along with it,
flutters lame-winged. I believe
Titian kicked Tintoretto out
as soon as he had eyes.
Trakl rode the steam vaporetto.
He hated it all and suffered.

I believe there’s
nothing to be added
to the rhymed dovecot, to leave
no traces but a few cigarette butts
from the evening party strewn across
the banks of compassion. Lasting
500 years, the haunted hour, and it’s
not time yet to go. There: tattered sails,
one might downright believe
a galleass was coming into the arsenal.
Wilde fluttering in the lagoon’s hall.

From Mirko Bonné, Traklpark. Gedichte © Schöffling & Co. Verlagsbuchhandlung GmbH, Frankfurt am Main 2012